National Infertility Week: Hello from the other side

The Gift of Life Welcomes guest blogger Jen Labriola  sharing her story in with us during Infertility Awareness Week.

I’m one of the lucky ones to not only survive a troublesome pregnancy that resulted in premature twins born at 28 weeks but also enduring eight years of infertility. At face value, it seems I was dealt a bad hand along the lines of fertility. Coming from a family of accidental pregnancies, my Fertile Myrtle mother who with contraceptive onboard still got pregnant with me, you’d think I’d inherit that trait.

Nope! Infertility isn’t inherited, it just happens. Just like a premature baby, sometimes, things just happen. It’s how you deal with these little setbacks that define your success and outlook. As I dealt with my twins in the NICU, with positivity, I dealt with my infertility the same way.

I’m a veteran in infertility and have been through nearly every procedure. I’ve shoved needles into myself for IVF, I’ve curled my fingers around the edge of a table as the searing pain of yet another test to see what was going on in my uterus, and I’ve prayed hard after procedures. I would hold a straight face with bad news, and then bravely ask, “Okay, what’s next?” I’ve researched what 0% APR credit cards I could use to pay for the procedures because my insurance didn’t cover infertility.  I’d spent enough money to buy two cars.

While many of my friends, who also are infertile, would quit, I decided I would do everything in my power to get pregnant and if after three IVF tries, I didn’t get pregnant, I would quit. So after my first real IVF, I couldn’t wait the two weeks and took a pregnancy test four days before my scheduled blood test at the IVF clinic. I took the pregnancy test that morning, it showed one lowly line (negative) and I tossed it in the trash. That same day, after work, I was complaining to my husband about how I’d never get pregnant and how much money we are wasting, in a fit, I dug the test from the garbage to show my husband. In that, I noticed a second line, a faint second positive line. I was pregnant.

So, to those who are going through infertility, my only advice is to be positive. I tried not to wallow in the negative, bad news. My first words after bad news were always, “what’s next?” I also researched everything, I read message boards, and I became my own expert in the field. Doctors, nurses and the like are not the end-all in what they say. In exchange, you must own your own journey. You must make the decisions, the ideas and not depend on the medical field wholly. This goes with anything medical; I did the same research for my troublesome pregnancy and NICU babies.

Positivity is what has always been and is my goal; I spoke in terms of when I’d get pregnant and not if I’d get pregnant. In terms of my troublesome pregnancy, I had to get to 28 weeks for my babies to be viable, so I told the doctor I’d get to 28 weeks, it was my goal, and it was everything. I was positive, even in the negative news, I followed my intuition. I just knew things would work out regardless of my doctor’s ideas on what could happen. Could is the key word here because no one knows what the outcome will be. So go by your gut feeling, you know deep inside the answers if you listen to your intuition.

So in this week of awareness, this epidemic of infertility that finally is coming out from behind the curtain, I am in the hopes that those putting up the good fight for infertility insurance coverage, for men’s infertility issues and a better understanding of this hugely growing need, continue to make traction. Those dealing with, succeeding or moving on from, infertility issues, it undoubtedly leaves a mark on your life. It’s up to you to make such an emotional experience as something that was part of your life or as something that has defined your life.

For me, this is my past; it’s not part of my definition of me anymore. My twins, my own determination, my own success is defined in the positivity of my future. Still, always optimistic, I am cheering for you, you the infertile, you the premature mother, and essentially you.

Thank you, Jen, for sharing your story with The Gift of Life.  Jen is a graphics artist and dedicates her time to the Gift of Life doing graphics and being a preemie mentor to other preemie moms!

Visit Jen’s profile

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